I So Hate Being Played

[Ahh, this is my first blog post written under a Democratic presidency. Ahh.]

So, yesterday morning I found an email in my box from Karen. Karen noticed that she and I received the same comment on Monday. Now, receiving comments from the same reader is not unusual, but receiving the SAME comment from the SAME reader is.

The first thing I did is hop over here and check my comments. Sure enough, there it was:

First, let me say that I?m a huge fan of your posts. You're on my List Of Ravelry Favorites, and I often share your stuff with my knitting friends.

I am writing everyone on my Favorites List with a couple of questions. If you can answer them for me, it would be a HUGE HUGE HUGE favor. Really HUGE.

Thing is, I am writing a piece on Ravelry for my college magazine. Topic is WHY Ravelry is such a huge success. I need opinions from fellow Ravelers like you to back up this claim I am making.

These are the questions:

1) Why did you choose to join Ravelry?

2) How did you learn about Ravelry?

3) What does Ravelry give you that other sites don't?

4) Absolutely anything else you?d like to share with me on this subject.

My quandary is this: I love the site and come here almost every week to look for knitting tips and ideas. (I haven't joined yet, as I am too shy to talk of my own work?)

I want to understand why others do the same. Each person must have his or her own reason and I am very curious to understand this trend.

Once I write the piece, I intend to send it across to Bob the dog. Maybe, he will post it on the site to encourage newcomers or even use it for other promotion purposes.

Thank you in advance

Keep writing, keep sharing, keep creating
Warmest regards
Cynthia

My first reaction was "what?" For those of you not on Ravelry, you should know that it's impossible to create a list of favorites without registering for the site. Also, the poster claimed to be writing an article for her "college magazine" without identifying the title of the publication, and contacted me via her GMail account. Doesn't that college give you a .edu address? Hmmm.

Intrigued, I did what any crafty knitter would do. I did a WhoIs on the IP (What? Do you think that we knitters don't know how to do these things?) Turns out that the IP from which she sent the email [199.233.161.254] is registered to an "Innovator Corporation" with an address listed in Browns Point, WA. Phone number: 1-253-925-1000.

A quick Google search didn't turn up a website for "Innovator Corporation," but I did find a listing on YellowPages.com. One of the categories under which the company is listed is "Art & Craft Supplies."

Hmmm. Veddy interesting.

The listing also mentions "Rubber Stamp Management." Rubber Stamp Management has a website. Unsurprisingly, it's related to stamping and other crafty endeavors.

So, this could all be some kind of crazy coincidence. Maybe our friend Cynthia Chesterfield is sophomore at Tacoma State, writing for her campus magazine as way to fill the hours between Biology and Business Ethics. Maybe she just happened to be walking by the offices of Innovator Corporation when she decided that she needed to email me with her survey questions, and maybe some kind soul at Innovator Corporation allowed her the use of a computer. I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt (even though parts of her story don't check out).

Because I'm a doubt giver, I emailed Ms. Chesterfield and asked her to provide to me (via her university-issued email address) the name of the publication for which she is writing. So far, there has been no response.

Do you know what I think? I think that Ms. Chesterfield is employed by Rubber Stamp Management, and was doing a little covert marketing research. I don't mind being contacted for such surveys, but I do mind someone misrepresenting her intentions. Would I be more inclined to respond to a survey from a student, rather than a marketing type at a for-profit company? Of course! I'm sure that's what Ms. Chesterfield was counting on. I also wouldn't be expecting anything in return from a student survey. Whereas if I answered a survey from Rubber Stamp Management, I would at least like a free return-address stamp out of the deal, and preferably one that has a ball of yarn next to my name. Or maybe a sheep? Knitting needles? The options are endless.

Curious to see if Karen and I were the only ones to have received such a comment, I posted about this on Ravelry forum. Within minutes, I knew that we were not. There were others, including (and I love this) Mary Heather! [Incidentally, if Jess is Mama Rav, is MH Sister Rav?]

I bet you're wondering, did I reply to Ms. Chesterfield's survey? I did not. Do I think that what she did was illegal? No. Was it phishing? No. She didn't ask me for any identifying information, or my credit-card number. But I do think that it was sneaky. Is this a big deal? No. But I hate being fooled like this. Especially when five minutes on Google tells me what you're really about.

However, maybe you would like to respond? I'm sure that she would appreciate it! Here's her email address. Or, maybe you want to Tweet her? Her profile is here. You should ask her about a free stamp while you're at it.

 

Nice detective work!

Yes, nice work.

Funny, I got the same comment on my blog, too, and WordPress was asking me to clear it or delete it. It sounded a little fishy, but I was in a hurry when I noticed it and so just skimmed it and went to other things without deciding its fate. I didn't catch the bit about her not being a member of Ravelry yet having a favorites list. What got me was that I only have one pattern, and anyway, why not send the message via Ravelry?

Off I go to delete the comment....

HAHAHA! Good on you!

you could be a detective!

It's rather normal for a new, or young-sounding employee to use that ploy to gather marketing information. It is generally assumed that a college student doing research is going to be assisted in their endeavors--whereas an employee at a company might not. It's your call, but I do think the disguise was unecessary since no "secrets" would be revealed (hence, I found it a little creepy).

Wow, you're awesome... I hate being played too, but I'm much easier to play. I admire your chutzpah. And yes, while it's not illegal to misrepresent yourself in that way to get marketing info, it's definitely disingenous and not nice! And a little creepy (as another poster has said).

Underhanded for sure! And, talk about market research, that is the first thing that struck me about ravelry!

If she really IS an habitue of the handcraft world, then she should know that we network like crazy these days!

Well done, you!

And she would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids! Those marketing tactics are just dishonest. Good detective work.

She signed up with Twitter two days ago and is already following 1,996 people? No wonder she hasn't had time to respond to your e-mail.

I am impressed...good job..she must have really pissed you off...

Remind me not to stalk you.

How funny!

Well, you had to go mention the democrats, rats, now I have to delete you from the list of blogs I read. See ya

I got this exact same email. So strange. Good on you for finding out more info!

and, er, mentioning the Democrats gets a delete from the blogroll? somebody's bitter.... ;)

I rec'd the same comment on my blog. Thanks for checking this out. Leaves me a bit peeved as well.

I hate it when people try something sneaky like this. When I find out, I am much less likely to give them what they want even if it just answering a couple of silly little questions. There is a point where a bit of honesty does really help out.

Yuck.

Nice job! That's why we live an honest life!

buh-bye diane!

anyway, good detective work here! just the fact that she is following 1900+ people on twitter and less than half the amount of people follow her is a sure sign that she is a marketer.

Oh man, but it was *so subtle!*

Good for you:)) I checked her twitter and it is blocked--hmm?

Bye-bye Diane!! Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Colleen--you amaze me. Not only do you manage to get the funniest things happen to you (hello Mittens of the Beast), but you post the best blog entries about your investigative research! When will these silly people learn not to mess with you?? As a marketer, I think that it's always best to be upfront about who you are. As soon as you start treating your subjects as stupid and naive, you have lost their respect and nothing will get that back.

Oh, and does it seem like this Rubber Stamp company is trying to start a stamp-hobby version of ravelry with the kind of info they're asking??

Well I totally got played since I actually took the time to respond to her questions. I did get a nice letter back but I noticed she did not tell me what the college publication was which I thought was quite odd at the time.

wow. i'm feeling kind of left out. i didn't get this comment. but seriously, great detective work. i wouldn't have responded just because it looks like a lot of work. ha!

i got played over the phone the other night. i responded to a what i thought was a simple marketing survey only to find out after i'd discussed it with a friend that it was probably a defendant in a patent infringement case gathering data on a potential jury pool.

also, diane ... really? you hate us that much?

Please let me know...I'm interested in learning how to knit, with 2 needles...how I do it?

Well, I voted for McCain and Palin. Proud to say so. I am also old enough to know when We lost the chance to have a very good President- He was Vice-President Humphreys.
Well, you were patient with this phishing survey. I spam them all. I hang up the phone too! To answer Her questions. You need to only state a couple of things. One knitting and crochet were practically wiped off the face of the world when I was a child. There were some very small hidden shops, coming on board in the 70's - a diversion to keep the wife of 25-40 years sane. The internet was yet to be born. I learned to knit and crochet and sew at an early age. I still find these talents to be considered a stain on one's personality. However, when I go out with a new scarf or cap. People drool!!!! It is such a Grand thing to see all who openly say I knit. You have to realize, the ability to purchase yarn was non existent in many cities. Then the Red Heart, and Lion Brands hit the Craft Stores- Sears began giving lessons in knitting in the late 70s. I believe that Sears revived knitting as Ravelry has made a wonderful place to ensure the Magic of knitting and crochet. Just look at all the yarn varieties available. Oh, Cynthia's twitter site is locked.
Go, Ravelry, Long live voting for the President. You won this time.

Super Sleuther in the House!!! Nice work, Nancy Drew!

Surveys always make me laugh. Unless they are 20 pages long and take 16 hours of detailed, face-to-face interviewing, I don't think you are going to get a ton of info that's going to be really useful. Otherwise, you get troublemakers like me who answer every question with "MONEY."

How did this become a political post?

You should get a clearance to do some detective work! It's amazing to me that people think they can dupe someone like this.

 

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